You don't have to use an RFID scanner, but they offer benefits which include:
RFID technology can help with recording individual animal details, such as their weight, veterinary treatment and breeding information.
RFID scanners generally come with their own computer compatibility options.
After you've scanned your animals, you can upload tag number files from your tag reader to your computer using a USB connection.
You can then upload the data from your computer to your NAIT account, as long as it's correctly formatted.
There are many brands and types of RFID tag scanners, so choose one that is most suited to your farming practice. Most brands are available from your local rural supply store or you can buy them online.
There are 3 main types of scanners:
Portable mini RFID scanners are smaller and cheaper than wand scanners. This means you need to be closer to stock to read their tag. They are the best option for smaller herds or lifestyle farmers.
Not all models have rechargeable batteries or can connect to smartphones, and they may not be able to connect via wireless.
Prices generally range from $350 to $500 (plus GST).
Portable RFID stick readers are the most commonly used readers on farms and you can operate them from a safe distance. They are larger and more durable than mini RFID readers, and come in a wide variety to suit your herd size and farming practice.
Prices generally range from $1000 to $2500 (plus GST).
Fixed-panel RFID scanners are the largest and most expensive option, and require a larger power source. They are:
Prices generally range from $2800 to $3750 (plus GST)
NAIT tags come in 2 broad types — HDX and FDX. This relates to the way they operate when they're scanned by an RFID scanner. They differ in price and functionality. You can choose either option for your NAIT-approved tags.
They work best if your RFID scanner is tuned to that type of tag.
HDX tags are higher performing and can read tags from further away. They are a popular choice for dairy farmers.
They have protection from outside interference — for example, some older cattle crushes with a lot of metal noise are better suited to HDX. Some on-farm automation systems, like Protrack, will only work with HDX tags.
HDX tags must recharge and wait until your scanner is in 'listen' mode before they can receive data.
FDX tags transmit their data to the scanner as long as they are in the read field of the antenna. They are suited to most sheep and beef, deer shed and sheep environments, and meet the minimum requirements for NAIT compliance.
They have no protection from outside interference.